“I am so much disgusted by this troublesome business of marriage, because nearly every day I receive some complaint from husband or wife, and practically this is not my business as sannyasi to be marriage counsellor, so henceforward I am not sanctioning any more marriages. . .
From a talk by Tamal Krishna Goswami
I will give you some instances to show you that Prabhupada was not equal to women. I was sitting with Prabhupada at 7 Bury Place, our first temple in London. He told me that if Jamuna Devi who was the wife of the temple president, had been a man, it would have been she that would have been the temple president. In other words, she was more qualified than her husband. But because she was a woman, he could not make her the temple president.
Later on, I was handed three slips of paper in which the names of different persons were listed when Prabhupada was preparing to form his first GBC. They finally found these three pieces of papers in the archives. They are in Prabhupada’s own handwriting on backs of envelopes and on the first two he lists, on one of them he lists three women, on one he lists two women and in the third list that I got, he lists only eleven men. And when he formed the GBC, there were no women. Now he wouldn’t allow women to be temple president, so how could he allow women to be GBC? I am just showing you how he was not equal.
Another way he was not equal is after a while, very rarely did women accompany him on a walk. Now the women claim that this is because of the sannyasis. I don’t know which sannyasis they are talking about, but some of the sannyasis, they say, were really pushing the women away and not letting them have an equal right. There may be some truth to that but Prabhupada allowed it. Prabhupada was not so unaware of the fact that there were no women on the walk. He could have said, “Where is so and so, where is so and so?” and he did used to say, “Where is so and so, where is so and so?” but that so and so was always a sannyasi or a senior man. So I don’t think that Prabhupada was equal to all.
In these matters woman is more than intelligent – she is brilliant! She so surpasses man in this regard it isn’t a contest! And it is only when man seeks to delight in her company and swim in the bountiful praise and glorification which she is so eager to shower upon him, does he also find meaning or purpose and indeed pleasure in sharing her vision of a permanent home in this miserable and so very temporary material world!
Though I was not in constant contact with Brahmananda Prabhu I always had great affection for him and Gargamuni Prabhu, the “love brothers” because of their unflinching faith in and pure unalloyed love for Srila Prabhupada. Brahmananda Prabhu was archetypal of what it meant to be a “Prabhupada man.” He would take a bullet for Srila Prabhupada and be happy to have had the opportunity.
For several months I had the urge to contact him but didn’t as something else would come up and now I am deeply regretting that I didn’t. I should have listened to that little voice like I did when I went to Vrndavana in 2008. I was having darshan of the Deities and was trying to make appropriate prayers to Them but I realized that in reality I don’t have a direct connection with Them. That it is Srila Prabhupada who is my direct connection to Sri-Sri Radha-Shyamasundara, Sri-Sri Krsna-Balarama, and Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, so I needed to focus on him and get his blessings. Shortly after this that little voice told me “go find Brahmananda and Gargamuni.” So I went to find the “Love Brothers,” the name they called themselves when they toured the US in the 1990s distributing Prabhupada mercy wherever they went. When I arrived at their domicile they very graciously welcomed me and it felt as if I had just returned after stepping out for a moment rather than it being more than ten years since last seeing Brahmananda and even longer for Gargamuni. We then spent several sweet hours discussing about Srila Prabhupada. The time I spent with the “brothers” was the highlight of my visit. I then realized why that little voice told me to find them. So I was very sad to hear of Brahmananda’s sudden departure and basically the rest of the week I was in mourning and watching videos of Brahmananda Prabhu on YouTube. If I felt terrible I cannot even comprehend how Gargamuni Prabhu is feeling and my sincere condolences to him who has lost not only a brother and god-brother but also his vartma-pradarsaka guru, who brought him to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.
I don’t recall the first time that I met Brahmananda Prabhu but I do recall the first time I sensed that he had a very special connection with Srila Prabhupada. It was sometime between 1978-80 in Mayapura when he was giving Bhagavatam class. As he gave the class somehow the topic turned to Srila Prabhupada, Brahmananda’s voice started to choke up, I could see that he was struggling hard to control his emotions and continue with the lecture, but eventually he lost the struggle and began to openly weep and that was the apparent end of the class – but a very deep lesson for me. He was not putting on some cheap sahajiya exhibition but had very deep love and affection for Srila Prabhupada, a love that was palpable despite his efforts to hide it. And over the years the more I got to know Brahmananda Prabhu the more I appreciated that he was like the personification of love for Srila Prabhupada. And, though he was very senior to me in every possible way he always treated me with affection and respect. I never once felt that he was patronizing, arrogant, pulling rank or had a sense of superiority, importance or entitlement. In fact I found him to be learned on various topics but humble and kind, a quality we can all emulate with profit.
A father sometimes addresses his daughter in affection as “mother” and sometimes as “my darling.”
A brahmacari is advised to go begging alms door to door, addressing all women as mother, and whatever he collects goes to the benefit of the guru.
I recently took up the study of Bhakti-Sastri under the instruction of my spiritual master. Living in Azerbaijan, the best option seemed to be to do it online, as various courses are available nowadays via the internet. I signed up with Bhaktivedanta College (Radhadesh), for a module of their online Bhakti-Sastri course.
The module on the Bhagavad-gita was being taught and facilitated by a mataji. Although within me I felt some doubts about accepting tuition from a mataji, I decided to proceed with applying for the course as I assumed that it was standard in ISKCON nowadays for matajis to act in such roles and I considered that the Bhaktivedanta College had a good reputation. I have nothing against women, but put my faith in Krishna knowing what is the best way to organize society and giving appropriate roles for various members of society.
I later became aware that not just one, but all of the Bhakti-Sastri modules on the course at the Radhadesh Bhaktivedanta College were going to be taught by matajis (reference: http://bcoc.bhaktivedantacollege.com/course/index.php?categoryid=12) – Why no male teacher for men? What impression does this give to devotees and people in general? Surely the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita is transcendental, but what about the practical application of the culture of the Bhagavad-gita?
Prabhupada: …have discrimination because the British government, they think that the Ratha-yatra is becoming very popular.
Prabhupada: That is the… It is actually rational discrimination. The Christians, they thought, “Now these Englishmen, they’ll make Hindu religion very prominent.” Because it is a fact. If we introduce such three-four celebrations, then Christianity will be finished. But what is there? Christianity, there is nothing. Simply some dry words. And actually, they’re seeing, nobody’s coming to the church. So in this way, if they some, relish something better, then whatever is there, that will be finished, also. Therefore in London we wanted to purchase a church.
Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Twenty-three, Text 52: PURPORT
It is said that the father himself becomes the son in another form. The father and son are therefore considered to be nondifferent. A widow who has her son is actually not a widow, because she has the representative of her husband. Similarly, Devahuti is indirectly asking Kardama Muni to leave a representative so that in his absence she might be relieved of her anxieties by a suitable son.
Krsna: Chapter Forty-Nine: Krsna Erects the Dvaraka
As from wood, fire can be manifested, or as butter can be churned out of milk, so also the presence of the Lord as Paramatma can be felt by the process of legitimate hearing and chanting of the transcendental subjects which are especially treated in the Vedic literatures like the Upanisads and Vedanta. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the bona fide explanation of these Vedic literatures. The Lord can be realized through the aural reception of the transcendental message, and that is the only way to experience the transcendental subject. As fire is kindled from wood by another fire, the divine consciousness of man can similarly be kindled by another divine grace. His Divine Grace the spiritual master can kindle the spiritual fire from the woodlike living entity by imparting proper spiritual messages injected through the receptive ear. Therefore one is required to approach the proper spiritual master with receptive ears only, and thus divine existence is gradually realized. The difference between animality and humanity lies in this process only. A human being can hear properly, whereas an animal cannot. (SB 1.2.32)
“The teachings presented in this book are nondifferent from the Lord,” Prabhupada writes in the preface to Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is essential for the serious candidate who wants to attain the stage of Bhismadeva at the end. The unique situation of Bhisma can be attained at the time of death even though Lord Krsna may not be personally present. His words of the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam are identical with the Lord. They are sound incarnations. . . . [Of nine items, the first item, hearing (sravanam), is the most important of all.]” (Bhag. 1.9.43, purport)
It is not sannyasi business. For starting school the government is there, public is there. Why you…- Srila Prabhupada
Renunciation Trough Wisdom, 2.9-Following in the Footsteps of Self-Realized Saints